The Grapevine

Is Sharing A Toothbrush Similar To Kissing?

People may find it weird when someone is allowing another person to use their toothbrush. Many look at this oral tool as a very personal stuff and should not be shared with anyone. But some people are just too kind to let others use it. 

Toothbrush helps clean the mouth, removing plaque, tartar and food from the teeth, gums and tongue. But as it supports oral hygiene, is it really bad to share a toothbrush? 

It sounds disgusting but the answer can be yes or no. First, the reason why you should not do it and always keep it with you and for you only. 

John Grbic, a professor of dental medicine at the Columbia University, said after cleaning your teeth, a toothbrush may contain 100 million bacteria. And using someone’s brush could give you their plaque or bacteria from periodontal diseases.

"When you brush your teeth you’re actually disrupting the bacteria," he told Men's Health

However, Grbic noted there is a low chance that using another person’s toothbrush could make you sick. He said periodontal disease, such as gingivitis, can be passed but rarely through shared toothbrush.

The bacteria from another person may struggle in the new environment in your mouth. This could then prevent them from spreading, leading to their death. 

But it is still possible to contract certain diseases. Grbic said viral infections, such as herpes, can move from one’s mouth to another by sharing a single toothbrush. 

Kissing And Toothbrush Sharing: The Difference

When you share your toothbrush you swap saliva the same way when you kiss. But making out affects the body differently. 

One study suggested that kissing could help boost women’s sex drive. It works when men pass some testosterone through their saliva to women. 

"There is evidence that saliva has testosterone in it," Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and one of the researchers, said as quoted by Live Science. "And there is evidence that men like sloppier kisses with more open mouth. That suggests they are unconsciously trying to transfer testosterone to stimulate sex drive in women."

How To Share Toothbrush Safely

Yes, you can share your toothbrush. But you should do it properly, according to Grbic. 

He said cleaning it first would help reduce the chances of getting some foreign bacteria. You can use a mouthwash or peroxide to clean for 15 to 30 seconds before use. 

toothbrush A dental expert says toothbrush may contain 100 million bacteria after cleaning the mouth. Pixabay